France and the European Union (EU) are central players in global health, including in the Covid-19 response. As bilateral and multilateral health donors, founding members of critical initiatives like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and the ACT-Accelerator, as WHO champions, and as leaders in the May 2021 Global Health Summit, both France and the EU have demonstrated their global health leadership. France also initiated vaccine-sharing, supported the development of health production capacities in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICS), and promoted the political message that Covid-19 medical tools are a global public good. However, despite significant efforts made by the international community to respond to the crisis, equitable access Covid-19 products has not materialized, and weak health systems continue to struggle. It is more urgent than ever to strengthen solidarity and the international health architecture. The EU must speak with one voice, and seize this opportunity to model its values by taking concrete steps towards ensuring equity.
We welcome France choosing global health as one of its priorities during its Presidency of the Council, from January to June 2022. We invite France to translate this political support into concrete actions to improve coherency, free up fiscal space for the strengthening of health systems, support universal health coverage (UHC), and renew support for research and innovation that enshrines equitable access to health products and technologies into its design. The French Presidency can do this by: